We're not looking for alternatives / we are not interested?

Discussion in 'Sales, Marketing & PR' started by Nissenel, Dec 12, 2019.

  1. Nissenel

    Nissenel UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    24 1
    Hi lads,

    I'm learning sales (I'm new in that profession), 90% of my daily activities is cold calling.

    I have a lot of situations like I explain shortly who I'm and what my company does, starting asking qualifying questions in order to see what customers needs, how his business looks like and if my transport service can resolve some problems or does it cheaper/faster/better in any way.

    It seems that he uses competitors, because he confirms his company moves some goods, and doesn't want to talk about him a lot because he's saying 'we're not looking for alternatives / we are not interested'. Usually I ask why and try to convince at least to get some destinations in order to propose better delivery time or price, but anchor here is very hard, many of them tell me simply 'get the f**k off we have companies already which are tested by many past years and we do not want to talk to give you a chance to hook on.'

    What should I answer? How can I overcome these and get something about them to connect with my service?

    I'm checking their websites but there is usually no enough information about where and what way they do.
    Posted: Dec 12, 2019 By: Nissenel Member since: Nov 6, 2019
  2. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

    32,937 9,769
    And they are right.

    The have built up a relationship over many years and have a trusted partner. You are a complete unknown so won't even get on the shortlist.
    Posted: Dec 12, 2019 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
  3. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    23,550 2,847

    Lots of businesses won't be interested. You can't get past they want to keep the relationship they have and do not want you dealing with them.

    If the service you are offering is essential to a business then they will usually already have someone they use.
    You may be trying to find the one in a hundred (or whatever ratio your industry has) where they are willing to talk. Perhaps they are unhappy with current service, perhaps current service has just put price up and that's annoying.
    Those are the ones more likely to switch.

    And to be honest, can get dozens of calls in a week about a service. You are competing with presumably lots of companies offering the exact same service all vying for the existing customers.

    Don't give up on cold calling. Just expect a lot of rejections.
    Posted: Dec 12, 2019 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
  4. WebshopMechanic

    WebshopMechanic UKBF Regular Full Member

    402 196
    You need to put yourself in their shoes. If it's not broke then why fix it?

    Any move from one service you already know well and that works, to another is a risk. Price is not the only reason to move so, if you are using that as your 'go to sales pitch', drop it.

    People don't always want the cheapest, especially in business. They want:
    • Value for money
    • They want trust
    • They want a supplier that does what they say they will do.
    (If the customer always wants the cheapest then I'd steer clear but that will never end well. )

    Also, you need to remember that people don't just switch to a new service off the back of a phone call.

    There is a nurturing stage. They will not jump into bed with you on the first phone call so you must build a relationship with them and get useful enough for them to learn to like you.

    This is the same with any sales process. I once courted / nurtured a retail customer for nearly 2 years before they finally gave me a £250k order. It was hard work but worth it in the end.

    Nobody cares about your service initially because they don't need it. But, you can make them care if you tick the right boxes.

    If they are telling you to f*** off then it's highly possible you are being too pushy and annoying them.

    My advice to you is to take a structured approach and work on your strategy.

    First off, answer these questions:
    • What does the service need to do for them?
    • Why would they have chosen their incumbent service in the first place?
    • What are their pain points?
    • What keeps them up at night?
    • What is important to them beyond the service?
    • What are all the other companies doing badly? (Check on line reviews)
    • What is your USP (Unique Selling Point)?
    • How can you continue to differentiate yourself in the industry? (Disruption?)
    • Where can you add extra value?
    • What case studies / proof of concept do you have?
    • Are they likely to use a company of your size?
    • Do you have any companies like them?
    From this, you can create a customer profile and craft a strategy.

    Next, I'd do the following:

    1. Go into deep research on the company and the person you are going to be speaking with. Know them inside out, learn their LinkedIn profile and history, have they posted on social media? Have they been to any events and posted about them? What do they get involved with work-wise? Does the company have any latest news that is relevant?

    2. Make the phone call (use it to fact-find, not sell). Introduce yourself. You may get the cold shoulder but you gotta start somewhere. IMPORTANT: DON'T TRY TO SELL. Nobody likes sales people, except sales people.

    3. Follow up the call with a thank you email and some extra information that is useful to them. Not a huge sales deck.

    4. Follow up the email with something in the post. Maybe a letter with a printed story of an industry horror story or a piece of positive PR coverage involving your company.

    5. Follow them up on email with something that will interest them - case study, story or research. IMPORTANT: DON'T TRY TO SELL.

    6. Call them 2 weeks later to see if they received the information.

    7. Keep nurturing them, invite them to have coffee at an event, try to be useful.

    There are certainly some other creative things you can do. Ultimately, you need to have that structured approach and you need to know what makes your target customer tick.

    My final piece of advice is to aim for the low-hanging fruit first. You may want the big company on your books but you need to first build your reputation and word will get around. Get some smaller companies to build out your portfolio and grow from there.

    Many industries are quite incestuous and people move around. That could open up some doors for you.

    Good luck.

    Posted: Dec 12, 2019 By: WebshopMechanic Member since: Apr 27, 2017
  5. Mark T Jones

    Mark T Jones UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    4,654 1,721
    I'd be interested to know what training/guidance you are being given as this isn't an area where cold-calling is likely to yield quick/quality business

    In the short term, deals will come from:

    Start ups without good contacts
    Those who have been lets down, or who have shafted previous suppliers
    Rate tarts

    In the longer terms, you can become one of those 'not looking for alternative' suppliers by building trust.
    Posted: Dec 12, 2019 By: Mark T Jones Member since: Nov 4, 2015
  6. Paul Norman

    Paul Norman UKBF Ace Free Member

    2,714 834

    This is key. Loyalty to suppliers is a big plank of building my business over the years. I am simply not going to move suppliers unless:

    1. My current supplier stops supplying.
    2. My current supplier really badly stuffs up and we cannot resolve it by talking it through.
    3. You offer me a massively superior commercial proposition. That might be price, but almost certainly wont be price alone. There would have to be a quality based element too.

    When cold calling, the reality is that the majority of people will be in that space. It is, to some extent, a numbers game, until you hit on a business not happy with their current arrangements, or someone a bit more fickle.
    Posted: Dec 12, 2019 By: Paul Norman Member since: Apr 8, 2010
  7. Alison Moore

    Alison Moore UKBF Enthusiast Full Member

    509 89
    To be honest when I was a new business owner, cold-calls were the bane of my life as they wasted so much of my time. Many people you call, won't be interested, just be polite and let them be on their way. Occasionally you'll call someone when they're in the market for a new supplier and you just happen to be there at the right time. I've had salespeople do the old trick of calling me by an abbreviated name to catch me off balance and pretend they know me. I really don't like that one at all. Personally I never object to a follow up email, (but I would never give a salesperson my email address, they can look our contact details up on our website). I might look at the email when I have free time.
    Posted: Jan 8, 2020 By: Alison Moore Member since: Aug 4, 2016
  8. Andy Inman

    Andy Inman UKBF Contributor Free Member

    37 2
    I haven't read all replies so this may have been covered already, apologies for repetition if that's the case:

    As a response to "we/I'm not interested" try: "Are you interested in improving efficiency?" - or reducing costs, saving money, etc ,etc - basically any relevant demonstrable benefit of your product/service which they simply can't answer "no" to. So they pretty much have to say "yes", then you have a few seconds in which to pitch how you would deliver that benefit for them. There is a danger they might feel manipulated by being more or less forced into giving you that initial "yes", so be aware of that.

    The same approach may also be effective when dealing with the secretary or receptionist who refuses to put you through, saying "he/she" (the boss) "isn't interested". Your response: "Is she/he interested in increasing profitability?". See? :)
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
    Posted: Jan 16, 2020 By: Andy Inman Member since: May 6, 2016
  9. MBE2017

    MBE2017 UKBF Ace Free Member

    1,845 640
    This is the third thread by the OP on cold calling, same answers on each thread, but it sounds like he is not listening. That is 90% of your problem.
    Posted: Jan 16, 2020 By: MBE2017 Member since: Feb 16, 2017
  10. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

    32,937 9,769
    No they don't. You ask me a question like that and you will be cut off and barred.
    Posted: Jan 16, 2020 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
  11. Andy Inman

    Andy Inman UKBF Contributor Free Member

    37 2
    Yep, I understand where you're coming from there, but I'm not talking about trying to sell fridges to eskimos here. A professional salesperson at that point would probably just cross you off their list. Avoiding wasted time works both ways. That's why we (my old company, now gone) never used to reply to ITTs other than to say "thanks but no thanks".

    Just to add: ITT is invitation to tender
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
    Posted: Jan 16, 2020 By: Andy Inman Member since: May 6, 2016
  12. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

    32,937 9,769
    ...wouldn't be cold calling. They would have done their homework, warmed up the lead and then made the call.

    Also worth noting that inuits (eskimo is considered prejorative) buy just as many fridges as we do.
    Posted: Jan 16, 2020 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
  13. Andy Inman

    Andy Inman UKBF Contributor Free Member

    37 2
    Ok. I'm now thinking maybe we're not talking about the same kind of cold call. I was referring to when you've done the homework and identified a valid potential client. For example, they're the main competitor to one of your customers who is very happy with your product/service and have shown a significant and measurable ROI. But it's still a cold call because that company hasn't made an enquiry, it's an outgoing contact.

    It totally agree if the "salesperson" (perhaps wide-boy) is just randomly calling numbers in the phonebook that's not what I mean by professional, it's spam, annoying and a bit stupid.

    So back to my original suggestion of using the technique: "Are you interested in increasing net profit?" - add "... because that's exactly what YourBiggestCompetitor Ltd have been able to do, measurably, and as a direct result of installing OurGreatProduct". Now are we getting somewhere?

    Really? I had no idea! I'll watch out for that. Checked the related Wikipedia article, that uses the term Eskimo doesn't seem to mention that issue. Is this something fairly new?

    Sure. The concept of selling fridges (or ice) to "Eskimos" has been used for years to describe a supposedly "good" salesperson. IMO it's actually describing a very bad (conman) salesperson. If that's the kind of selling that the OP is doing then he has bigger problems.

    thefreedictionary even include it an an idiom (the ice version):

    (someone) could sell ice to Eskimos

    Someone is an extremely smooth, charming, or persuasive salesperson, such that they could sell something to people who have no need or use for it. (The phrase alludes to the various indigenous peoples of the traditionally cold, snowy northern circumpolar regions of the globe, who thus would have no shortage of (and no need to buy) ice. It should be used with caution, though, as the term "Eskimo" is considered by some to be offensive or derogatory. )

    Interestingly, they also show your warning about the term Eskimo - So now double noted - I'll be more careful with that from now on!
    Posted: Jan 16, 2020 By: Andy Inman Member since: May 6, 2016
  14. Alan

    Alan UKBF Legend Full Member - Verified Business

    6,577 1,818
    But apparently not as many barbecues, so perhaps we should have a new term 'like selling barbecues to inuits'.
    Posted: Jan 16, 2020 By: Alan Member since: Aug 16, 2011
  15. Andy Inman

    Andy Inman UKBF Contributor Free Member

    37 2
    Yes, I think that could well catch on :)

    How about: selling excuses to a Conservative?
    Posted: Jan 16, 2020 By: Andy Inman Member since: May 6, 2016
  16. UKSBD

    UKSBD Not a real duck Staff Member

    10,100 1,988

    What about, Selling Wix to Fisicx
    Posted: Jan 16, 2020 By: UKSBD Member since: Dec 30, 2005
  17. Aurelius

    Aurelius UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    26 3
    There's various polite ways of doing it:

    "I appreciate you're not looking for an alternative at the moment but could I possibly send you a quotation by email to go on file?"

    "When is your contract up for renewal as I'd be interested in giving you a call back to provide you with a comparison at that point?"

    "Could I perhaps give you a call back in 6 months when you may be looking at this again?"

    You can even ask outright why he isn't interested but you really have to judge it correctly. It's not a standard reply but if you're being politely rebuffed it can kick start a conversation. Get it wrong and it has the opposite effect!

    If your offering is great compared to your competition put a clear quote in the message bar of the email e.g. "only £1 per mile per ton of freight, national and international" (I have no idea how the logistics business actually works). When your email drops in their email box they can't help but see your offering. They'll read it automatically. If it is of genuine interest they'll come back to you but don't follow them up if they don't.

    Telesales is purely a numbers game and it's low. My conversion rate is roughly 10% of my data become leads and 10% of that becomes a sale, but those sales could take months or years.
    Posted: Jan 26, 2020 By: Aurelius Member since: Mar 21, 2019
  18. tony84

    tony84 UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    5,774 1,056
    I use a company for secured loan referrals. It is a bloke we have used for about 18 months and it works well.

    I get calls from various companies at least 2-3 times a month trying to convince me to use them Some of them I have used in the past but they were useless "ohhh yes, but I am here now so it will be completely different" we hear.

    So their argument is basically, we want you to stop using a company you have used for 18 months that works and send us the business for maybe the same split or even a slightly better split but it did not work out. What happens when this new person leaves or is off/ill etc? Where is the benefit for me?

    As others have said, if something isnt broken, it does not need fixing. It is hard to find good reliable long term relationships in business, so when you have it it takes a lot to break that relationship.

    My suggestion would be to keep in contact, probably by email once a month and a call maybe once a quarter. You never know, you may just get them at a point where something has gone wrong with their current supplier. But it is a slow burner. I would not ditch any of the companies I use at the minute for promises that can not be quantified (ie better service) or for slightly better terms.
    Posted: Jan 26, 2020 By: tony84 Member since: Apr 14, 2008
  19. Newchodge

    Newchodge UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    14,343 3,809
    They have been called Inuit at least since I studied anthropology at university in the early 80's. Actually, they have always called themselves Inuit.
    Posted: Jan 26, 2020 By: Newchodge Member since: Nov 8, 2012
  20. UKsouthwest

    UKsouthwest UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    25 5
    I worked in sales for many years and specialised in business development (finding new markets and new customers).

    In my experience you can only really sell to people when you understand what motivates them to buy.

    You can only really find this out face to face.

    When faced with "we already have a supplier that we are happy with" type scenario's my advice is to never be a smart ass. Don't do the ridiculous "are you interested in improving efficiency" thing as said above. That will almost guarantee you never get through the door.

    As a newbie I would suggest that it might be worth being honest and just saying "I am new to this trade and am just looking for help in really understanding what companies such as yourselves are looking for". Some people will be happy to try and help and give you advice.

    Also, you could try "Its great that you have a trusted supplier. Is there any chance that we could find out what you need so that if anything did go wrong with your current supplier we might be an in a position to help" - "it never hurts to have a back up".

    When you have some customers within an industry that you work well with you might be able to use them (in the nicest sense) to have a word with someone they know at another possible customer. This only truly works if you do actually have a relationship with the first customer who is genuinely happy with what you do.

    The reality is that without knowing what you do specifically it is difficult to give you more specific answers but there are a couple of more general tips that might be of help.
    Posted: Feb 4, 2020 By: UKsouthwest Member since: Aug 8, 2012